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School Nurses Chapter Newsletter - Spring 2017

From your chapter leader

This year, our union faces new challenges. We will be watching the Trump administration with regard to private school vouchers and charter schools. In each chapter newsletter, I will update you on how our union is fighting to protect worker rights.

Now, I want to address the issue of a constitutional convention. New York voters will be asked on Nov. 7, as they are every 20 years, if they want to hold a convention to revise and amend our state constitution. See this road map to the constitutional convention to learn more »

We need to educate our colleagues about what this could mean to us. Opening the constitution for revision could jeopardize our pension benefits, our right to collective bargaining, our right to Workers’ Compensation, our right to a safe workplace and health benefits, and our right to have the state fund public education. We need our members, your families and your friends to vote “no” on the November ballot measure.

You will probably hear from well-funded organizations urging you to vote for a constitutional convention. The changes they propose could be made through legislative efforts, which would force our lawmakers to be held accountable. We do not need to convene a convention, which could cost tens of millions of dollars, and some estimate even more. Read about our campaign to vote NO to a constitutional convention »

In unity,

Cathy Connolly
School Nurses Chapter Leader

From our chapter meeting

We discussed the following items at our Jan. 25 meeting:

School Nurses Chapter website update: Chapter Leader Cathy Connolly provided a computer demonstration of the new School Nurse Chapter website links for registering payroll issues. She also sent an email to members describing this new procedure and sharing the new links. The first link is a general salary inquiry form and the second link is an overtime waiver inquiry form.

This system will assist the UFT staff in investigating and resolving any payroll issues you may have. After registering your complaint, you should receive a call from a UFT salary representative within a week. If you have any difficulty, please contact Cathy Connolly at

Notice in Principal’s Weekly: Several nurses brought to the union’s attention the Jan. 18 article “Guidance on the release of students who become ill during the school day.”

“If a high school student becomes ill at school, the school must obtain consent from the student’s parent/guardian allowing the student to be released from school to travel home or to a doctor unaccompanied. In addition, a school health professional must agree that the student is not too ill to either walk or travel alone using public transportation. If the student is deemed not well enough to travel alone by the school health professional, she/he may only be picked up by a parent/guardian or other adult designated on the student’s blue card, home-contact card."

Several of our nurses expressed concern regarding their liability when they release students to travel alone. Nurses should always use their professional judgment when making a decision about whether to send a child home. They should convey these reasons for their decision to the administration.

We have asked the Office of School Health to send information about this directive to each of our school nurses. If you have any issues, please contact your nursing supervisor.

Consultation meetings

Consultations are scheduled throughout the year with Director of Nursing Gail Adman. At these meetings, we discuss issues of concern and any questions you have. On Jan. 18, the following topics were discussed:

Late busing in District 75: We have received a few complaints from nurses regarding late busing. The school administration must report a school bus that is constantly late to the Office of Public Transportation. If you are having an issue with repeatedly late buses, please notify your nursing supervisor so he or she can check to see if a report has been submitted. In addition, please notify your chapter leader in case follow up is needed.

Online transfer issues:

  1. Viewing vacancy posts from your home computer: Chapter Leader Cathy Connolly requested that the computer program be upgraded to allow viewing from home. Until this can be accomplished, all transfers must be filed during the school day.

  2. Inability to reapply for a transfer if the member applied for a transfer during the June–November 2016 posting period: Again, we asked that the computer program be upgraded. In the meantime, please contact Lisa Seales-Pearson at 347-396-4727 if you are having difficulty applying for a transfer.

SOLAS: The Self-Service Online Leave Application System is new for our nurses who must now apply for a leave of absence through this online process as do other personnel in UFT-represented titles. Director of Nursing Gail Adman will be sending out information to you in the near future, outlining the guidelines for this application. Teachers have been using this system for three years and have found it convenient, so we should have no difficulty with it.

Office of School Health Labor Relations meeting

During the Jan. 12 meeting with the Office of School Health, CEO Dr. Roger Platt discussed the increased difficulty of recruiting both agency and staff nurses. He stated that the Office of School Health has approximately 15 to 20 schools every day without coverage. There has been difficulty covering school trips, which has resulted in their cancellation.  

OSH has recently hired 10 nurses for the Bronx, and District 75 is in the process of hiring an additional 47 nurses. There will be an orientation for these new nurses on Feb. 27 and March 20.

CATCH program: All Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health program positions will be posted. Both the DOE and Department of Health staff nurses may apply.

ACS protocol: There is a new protocol for the Administration for Children’s Services that is now under review. Until it is finalized, nurses should follow the current guidelines. If you have any questions, you should contact your supervisor.

Asthma: OSH received funding for two new programs for students with asthma. They are public education programs with a focus on case management. OSH is hiring 30 case managers who will each have a caseload of approximately 50 students. Approximately 15 case managers have already been hired. The first priority for placing these case managers is community schools (K–8). We are told they will work closely with the school nurses; however, they will have a separate office.

We requested a list of the schools where the case managers have been and will be placed. If you work in one of the schools where a case manager already has been placed and have any issues, please contact Chapter Leader Cathy Connolly immediately at   

School-based health clinics: Dr. Platt stated that the OSH is due to open 12 more school-based clinics this year. Some of our nurses have had issues covering for the clinics when the nurse practitioner was absent. Please email Cathy Connolly at the above address if you have a school-based clinic in your building and let her know if you have provided coverage for the clinic.

One DOE staff nurse reported that she is covering the clinic twice a week when the nurse practitioner is absent. Your assistance is needed in following up with these practices.

Upcoming events

Next chapter meeting: March 29 at UFT headquarters at 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, room E/F from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Register online now »

Nurse Lobby Day: May 9 in Albany, NY

Nurse Appreciation Dinner: TBA

Nurse Chapter Weekend: March 4–5: We invited 15 nurses to join other UFT members to learn more about the benefits of our union and get the latest updates from our leadership.

Related Topics: Chapter News